This is an unsolicited, non-sponsored post. I spent $2.19 of my very own funds for this little adventure.
I thought I had my meals all worked out for this doodle-/house-sitting period. Unfortunately, I hadn’t factored in the likelihood that I would forget to grab a container from my freezer on one of my trips home. But that’s what happened and I didn’t realize it until I was at Kroger picking up salad to go with my…oh, no! Given that it was about 100° outside, I decided I could find something to use as a stand-in for dinner.
Kroger does have a hot food bar, but it looks to be foods prepared early that morning and left to heat (and heat and heat) all day, It might taste fine, I dunno, but it doesn’t look appetizing to me. The adjacent bakery section, on the other hand…
Most of my normal back-up choices (cottage cheese, eggs, tuna, etc.) weren’t options. For several reasons, but mostly because it was one of those kind of days and I was a wee bit on the cranky side.
Eventually I ended up on the frozen food aisle. Since I usually make my own frozen dinners, I had no idea what was available at Kroger. I’d once seen something branded “Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods” at another store and thought Kroger might have it. They didn’t, so I was at a loss. (Did I mention it was hot and I was cranky?)
I had just about convinced myself that a pint of Ben & Jerry’s would make a fine supper when I stumbled upon the Lean Cuisine section of the freezer. And they actually had something that sounded pretty good, and it was on sale! Dammit!
Health food, it’s not, but a quick scan of the ingredients and nutritional information, not to mention my proximity to the ice cream case, made me decide that it probably wouldn’t kill me.
Once home, I
opened the bag of lettuce prepped my salad and then checked out the contents of my store-bought freezer meal.
Yup, that’s it. About 2 ounces (or less) of chicken and a half cup of corn, beans, and peppers make up one packet. There’s also a packet (maybe an ounce?) of tortilla strips and finally, a packet of chipotle ranch dressing. Kind of skimpy if you ask me. I added some chopped tomato to the lettuce pile.
The finished product. Not shown: the serving of blue corn tortilla chips and salsa I had on the side.
Verdict: Although I much prefer my own meals (something I never thought I’d write), this actually wasn’t that bad. I could recognize and taste the individual ingredients, but the peppers kind of got lost in the processing. It would definitely benefit from a little more seasoning, in my opinion, but then again, I add peppers to almost everything.
The chipotle ranch dressing was really good–creamy with a bite of spice. I don’t eat much dressing on my salad (fork method), so this 2+ tablespoon packet was way too much for the salad. Out of curiosity, I wrote to the Lean Cuisine people and asked for the calorie-nutrient counts for the dressing. It turns out that my meal had half the fat and sodium without all that dressing. The entire packet has 60 calories, 4g of fat, and 300mg of sodium!
In the end, you won’t be finding this in my freezer as a staple, but if I ever needed a meal in a pinch, I’d try it or one of the other varieties on a salad or in a wrap. But for regular consumption, I’ll stick to my own cooking, plain though it may be.
Needless to say, I made a point of going by my house the next day for my homemade lean cuisines–Mexican Chicken this time around, which I am enjoying with a dab or two of chipotle ranch dressing.
And thus ends my excursion into the land of frozen dinners. I ate one and I didn’t die. In fact, I liked it a little.
Are there any frozen meals you’ve tried and liked? Did it surprise you?